As I researched all of her accomplishments and extensive background in volunteerism, I was awed by what she and husband Barry (the third generation of philanthropic Hirschfeld’s) have done to positively change the lives of so many people in the community.
For A. Barry Hirschfeld, the legacy in both business and philanthropy began in 1907 with his grandfather A.B. Hirschfeld who entered the printing business at age 19 with a $35 hand press. The original hand press is proudly on display in the A.B. Hirschfeld Press company’s lobby.
Barry’s dad, Edward entered the business at age 15. Today the A.B. Hirschfeld Press is headed by Arlene’s husband Barry. Barry is most proud of his grandfather who co-owned the Denver Bears and the Denver Broncos, and of his father, Edward who co-founded Channel 9 and was instrumental in helping bring cable television to Denver by way of Mile High Cable.
Along with the many public service positions he holds and honors he has been awarded, Barry is actively involved in numerous real estate developments.
Arlene is a member of the boards of the Denver Art Museum, Mizel Museum of Judaica, Children’s Diabetes Foundation at Denver, Breathe Better Foundation, Allied Jewish Federation, Girl Scouts, Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Rose Community Foundation, and the list goes on and on.
Arlene has been both President and board member of the Junior League of Denver, and is the recipient of numerous awards such as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (given to both Arlene and Barry), the Colorado Philanthropy Day Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award, the Golda Meir Award given by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, the Rocky Mountain News Five Women of Distinction Award, the University of Denver Founders Day Award for Community Service, along with being recognized in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Woman, and Who’s Who In the World. - Now you can see why one might be enamored with Arlene!
The Harvard University Divinity School (Women’s Studies in Religion Program) of which Arlene is a Member of the Dean’s Council, proudly quotes her on their website: “This program is devoted to recapturing the history of women, helping them move forward to be all they can be – in leadership roles – by empowering them…. The research by the WSRP scholars will improve our lot in life as women, our daughter lives, and society in general.”
As Arlene and I discussed many of her achievements over coffee, the conversation always seemed to come back to how grateful and appreciative she was for all the blessings she has been given. She left me with a comment that I plan to share with everyone I know. “No matter who you are, or what your financial situation is, there is always a way to contribute - not only with money, but with your time and your ideas.”
We hugged goodbye, and I felt good just being able to have spent time with this dynamic woman! She is clearly passionate about life – and then some. Arlene can match anyone in energy and enthusiasm.
Living such a rich and rewarding life couldn’t be happening to two nicer people than the Hirschfelds!
What is always in your refrigerator? Balance Bars, Bottled Water, Fruit
What is your favorite place in your house? My office - which is right across from Barry’s office
If you were to move, what will your home tell it’s new owner about you? Busy people lived here!
What social or fundraising event is your favorite? They all have their own personality. When the people behind the event have passion, it really shows. It’s wonderful watching an event grow and get better and better. It’s also good to see all the new people when they get involved. If I have to pick one I really look forward to, it would be the Carousel of Hope Gala held in California benefiting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. Barry’s dad originally sat on the Board for this organization.
What fundraising activities are you involved in at this time? (To mention a few….) The Denver Art Museum Capital Campaign for their new building. It’s going to be a beautiful structure with all the “bells and whistles,” and made to last for future generations to enjoy. Junior League Foundation. The Women’s Foundation new headquarters at D.U. The Allied Jewish Federation
Who is your hero, and why? My mother. She had great values, was down to earth, had her head on straight, had a great outlook on life, and taught me to spend time doing good things, care about your family, and in general, be very appreciative about life.
Who is your mentor? I couldn’t have done it without Barry. He’s always been so supportive and encouraged me and believed in my ideas. Among others, my Carson Elementary School teacher, George Mansfield, has always been a wonderful cheerleader for me, and he was there when I received the Colorado Philanthropy Day Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award in 2003.
What is a favorite childhood memory? Spending fun vacation time with my family, and traveling by car to Yellowstone, by train to San Francisco, and by plane to New York.
Who is your favorite writer? I loved “Tuesday’s with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, such a great message - and I love anything by Thomas Friedman.
What do you most value in your friends? Sincerity, Caring, A positive outlook on life, Equally supporting each other, Savoring life and the good times together
What is the one thing nobody knows about you? I like to clean and organize closets and drawers.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you’ve met? I’d have to say Mavis Leno, wife of Jay Leno. She’s a sincere, terrific lady, very gracious, and using her influence in the right way. She’s making a difference by supporting many women’s causes such as the abuse of Afghan women – in fact when she spoke at the Women’s Foundation event, she donated her stipend to the Afghan women.
What is your pet peeve? It takes a lot to get me aggravated. I don’t really have one. I remember being told by my Dad to look for at least 50% good in people, and hope they can find at least 50% good in you.
What is your favorite clothing store? I love all the stores in Denver large or small. I like supporting our own local merchants. It’s good to “take care of your own,” and it’s good for our economy.
If your life were a movie, Who would play your part? Annette Benning. I have met her, and she has a great sense of family.
If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? Find a way to add more “megabytes” to my brain.
What one word describes you best? Passionate
What one word would others use to describe you? I’m not sure. Maybe - Caring?
What is your advice for a happy marriage? Never, never take each other for granted. Communicate, keep talking about things. Spend quality time together; keep the relationship going – Your kids will eventually go and do their own thing. Barry’s my best friend, and we have great respect for each other.
What makes you laugh? A good funny story or a joke. I can also laugh at myself.
What is your most treasured possession? My family.
What is your personal motto – or favorite quote? One by Edward Everett Halle that I’ve used to inspire philanthropy: “I am only one – but I am one? I can’t do everything…but I can do something. And what I can do, I will do!”
What do you consider your proudest achievement? My kids. They are wonderful people.
What is the best advice your Mom/Dad ever gave you? Do the best that you can. Respect life and others. Look for the good in everyone. Pay attention, and be thoughtful.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family - My husband and children
What is your current state of mind? Positive, Appreciative, Enthusiastic, Have realized that you can do it all, just not all at the same time. We are all just human. Savoring the moment and the good times.
What might your epitaph read? A passionate person who cared for the community and who was devoted to her family.